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EDLAB REVIEW

CourseTalk

by Laura Costello

August 20, 2013

Article Body

CourseTalk is a review site for massive open online courses like those offered through Coursera, EdX, and Udacity. The site functions like a Yelp for MOOCs and features a gamified leader board that lets users review courses and gain clout through upvotes. The site will likely become more valuable as these massive courses start to recur more frequently; at present the space seems primarily useful for browsing courses. Founder Jesse Spaulding is new to the edtech space, but he has had an eclectic career in technology including developing a lucrative trading algorithm, an Australian comparison shopping site, a networking site for tech professionals, and a blog community builder.

Pros:

The site is well-organized and has a low-contrast, Gmail Blue aesthetic that is calming and inoffensive. Courses default sort by top-rated, but users can easily toggle for popularity and recency or sort by subject and provider. The MOOC participant that finishes a course is the unicorn of the online learning world and the reviews submitted by this crowd to CourseTalk seem to be predictably complete, generous, and meticulous.

Cons:

CourseTalk is highly specialized and the user group does not seem to be particularly active yet, though this may change as the site and MOOCs mature. The course, school, and platform databases seem to be small but allowing users to add their own courses could change this quickly.

Our Takeaway:

The online course is likely here to stay and recent news (2, 3) seems to suggest that MOOCs are beginning to disrupt some paradigms. The success of CourseTalk rests on the success of online courses, and the platform’s inclusivity could be their major point of difference. There are several other sites working towards the same goal including Open Culture, The Open Education Database, Grade My Course, and Top Free Classes, though among these CourseTalk seems particularly contemporary and user-driven. Increased crowdsourcing and a push toward discovery might help the site attract users until there have been enough MOOC iterations to support the site’s review function.

The Bottom Line:

CourseTalk is making rank with MOOC reviews.

Image: Logo via CourseTalk